PROFILE

Susan Viamari

Vice President, Thought Leadership, IRI
Recognized industry thought leader who regularly leads dialogues on timely and compelling CPG issues. Specialties: CPG and Retail Analytics; Consumer Decision-Making Process and Shopper Behavior; Strategic Marketing and Planning; Merchandising and Pricing Strategies; Evolution of National and Store Brand Products
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  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Walmart puts AI to the test in an in-store lab

    AI is going to play a vital role in the future of CPG. At the end of the day, the biggest impact will come in improving the customer experience. Let’s face it: Consumers are demanding and they have a right to be so. They are laser-focused on accomplishing their mission -- buying the product they want, where and when they want it. By embracing Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, retailers can already quickly and easily identify critical issues with in-store execution that prevent the product from being on the shelf when the shopper comes to make a purchase. Simply alerting in-store staff of some of these simple errors -- such as misplacement within the plan-o-gram, product that is blocked by another item on the shelf and/or missing price tags -- allows for quick adjustments that will get the right product to the right place at the right time, providing an excellent shopper experience and, ultimately, strengthening loyalty.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2018

    Shoppable ads need to tone down the sales pitch

    Consumer familiarity with the brand and product should also be a consideration. If you’re advertising a well-known brand but a newer product, shoppers are certainly going to want to learn more before they buy. And that goes without saying for new brands. And of course, test, test, test, measure, and adjust as needed. YouTube just added new shoppable ad formats and new ways to measure ad performance and actual sales lift from ads. The tools are there. Try them. Keep what works and keep the others in your back pocket. Just always think consumer-first. We’re all consumers ourselves, so boil it down to what YOU would want to know before you buy.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Has wine in a can moved from fad to trend?

    Consumers have shown a strong willingness to try new packaging and product forms as they look for on-the-go solutions to their food and beverage needs. Wine in a can is a change, but wine in a box seemed out of place not long ago, and now it is much more commonplace. CPGs must continue to experiment with on-trend packaging and product forms!
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Brands are simply guests on Amazon’s platform and that’s okay

    Brands and third-party sellers should think of Amazon as not only a marketplace, but a media platform. Even when purchases are made in brick-and-mortar stores, a majority of shopping trips begin online. Consumers aren’t just shopping on Amazon, they’re using it to research products, read reviews, compare prices and more. Brands need to optimize their digital real estate on Amazon by using optimized product content to highlight differentiators and introduce usage occasions. Your presence on Amazon should be equally as good as your owned brand site.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    Consumers are ready for change. We seek excitement, convenience and variety in retail experiences and Choice Market’s concept appeals to all of the above. Even consumers who don’t use its targeted services like electric charging, bike shares and electric scooters will appreciate faster checkout processes and less time in line. Consumer education and offers will be key to getting people to understand and try the newer services. And Denver is the perfect market to trial this concept.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Will foodie culture save the mall?

    There’s no question that mall formats need a refresh to bring back shoppers who have moved on to newer, more exciting channels. Adding new food concepts appears to be a step in the right direction, given that digital native generations like Millennials and Gen Z value a healthy lifestyle (with fresh food playing an ever-increasing role), value-added services, and variety. If malls and their respective stores and concepts can find a way to weave personalization into the experience, they will be even more successful.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Will the Kroger/Walgreens pilot lead to something really big?

    This partnership really underscores the disruption that is reverberating throughout the CPG industry – it combines brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, healthcare and food & beverage, private label and national brand, and more! We are seeing two really powerful retailers again recognizing that the game is changing, and the old way of doing things is no longer enough to win the hearts – and wallets – of today’s shoppers. While the partnership may not be “the golden ticket,” it is certainly another major step in exploring the always-evolving future of CPG.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Walmart expands test of pickup-only grocery store concept

    To maximize convenience, the pick-up locations need to be where shoppers are. Pickup-only facilities have the potential for location-based convenience, and also offer a quick and easy in-and-out experience. I expect that we will see a combination of models (pickup-only and in-store pickup) going forward, particularly as retailers test various formats to find out what works best for their brand, location, and geography.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2018

    Are big box retailers going too small with new store concepts?

    Really, these small store formats are a great development in retail, especially as the CPG industry becomes increasingly better at curating assortments in a very targeted manner. To do it right, brands and retailers really need to invest to understand their highest value shoppers and align marketing—products, price and promotion—to get the right products into the right retail outlets at the right time.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2018

    Would you believe older men with lower incomes are the new drivers of online sales growth?

    I don’t think there’s any demographic that is immune to the convenience, money-saving and novelty that e-commerce can offer, so this isn’t all that surprising. It has just taken some shoppers longer to build trust than others. With that said, brands should focus on developing a strong brand story and use research and data to listen to their consumers – you should only focus on courting the newest e-commerce shoppers if it makes sense for your brand to do so, not just because they’re the latest consumer segment of interest.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Can Zippin zip past where Amazon Go is going?

    AmazonGo, Zippin and future "just walk out (JWO)" solutions will create exciting new opportunities for retailers, some obvious, some less so. JWO opens up more of the store layout for additional products, or allows for smaller footprint stores. It also allows retailers to assign staff to different, customer-oriented roles. On the less obvious side, JWO helps retailers understand how shoppers navigate the store without the deployment of expensive sensors. Retailers can see in what order shoppers have added items to their baskets and determine their shopper journey with that information. This enables them to leverage a whole new data set with which they can reorganize store layouts and planograms to improve sales and the shopper experience.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    Personalized shopping experiences are hugely important to younger Millennial and Gen Z generations, so CVS’s BeautyIRL should certainly help attract younger consumers. However, how many consumers is hard to say, since CVS has a long way to go to catch up to the well-established product trial experiences and loyalty programs of Sephora and ULTA. As far as being in line with the brand’s increased emphasis on health, I would say yes because self-care and self-indulgence play a big role in overall wellness these days.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    As a con, I imagine most people might get much more frustrated at a bot not understanding your request than they would if a person misunderstood it. If it were a widespread problem, your brand could suffer – I can just picture the social media jokes now. Although the tarnish could be only temporary if the technology is finessed.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2018

    Three reasons why Gen Z ignores your loyalty program

    Research has shown that the digitally-minded Gen Z wants brand authenticity, personalized products and advertising, and to be part of the feedback loop in developing these products and campaigns. Loyalty programs will have a greater chance of succeeding with Gen Z if the programs and rewards are tailored to shoppers’ preferences, buying habits and budgets. Social listening and creating a digital community are strategies that can help open the feedback loop and create an authentic experience.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    Amazon delivers latest Prime perk to Whole Foods’ curb

    Whole Foods shoppers are largely motivated by quality, and Prime members are largely motivated by convenience. If Amazon and Whole Foods can find a sweet spot that integrates the two and price it right, they will grow a broader shopper base. Like many have commented here, traditional offline stores are racing to catch up to e-tailers, and e-tailers are racing to catch up in brick and mortar. As a consumer, it’s a fun race to watch and reap the benefits of convenience, personalization and savings.

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